Turning 45: Sometimes, you just have to laugh.
When I'm Sixty-Four
When I get older losing my hair
Will you still need me,
LIFE IN SUSANA LANE
Well, I hope I make it to 64! At the rate I'm going, I sometimes wonder. My "female" issues are getting worse. Although my latest ultrasound came back "Normal," I'm still getting my period every 15 days, for seven days straight, and it is still debilitating enough for me to miss work for one or two days at a time.I always pray for my cycle to arrive on the weekends, so I can stay in bed -- or actually on the couch since I haven't had a bedroom since Hurricane Frances -- for two days without having to miss work.
If I can't avoid leaving the house, I bring a towel to sit on in the car, and make sure I have a change of clothes. It's that bad. And often I'm in so much pain I don't know whether to call in sick or call an ambulance...or a priest.
Feeling weak, I fill up on carbs. Too exhausted to exercise, my body has ballooned to gargantuan proportions. Racked with pelvic pain, my abdomen is distended as if I'm 23 months pregnant, and is tight as a drum. I'm so bloated, maternity clothes won't do. When I go dress shopping, I wonder if I should buy a tent at the hardware store instead.
Turning 45 sucks! I have to keep reminding myself it's better than the alternative.
There may be hope still. A co-worker, who had the same symptoms, and like myself, suspected Menopause,has found a cure. She had the lining of her uterus lasered. No more periods!
Besides eliminating the painful physical effects, this procedure has also greatly improved her mental outlook. No more PMS! Really, men have no idea what women go through:
With less than a week recovery time, this new procedure, Novasure or Endometrial Ablation, beats the old Hysterectomy hands down! She has her life back! No more PMS mood swings, labor-like cramp pain, intestinal problems, hot flashes, excessive bleeding with embarrassing accidents, the need to always be in close proximity to a toilet - which can be a problem in itself - extreme weakness, dizziness, crushing fatigue, blinding migraines, food cravings for chocolate, carbs, and BEEF.
She, too, felt like a vampire, constantly craving steak. I understand completely. I drive by cow pastures and salivate. My dogs are running scared.
I am always so tired and short of breath, I cannot even climb a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing like an Asthmatic running a marathon without his inhaler.
A new and interesting phenomenon is that my hair has stopped growing. I haven't colored it in months.
It's falling out in clumps, chemo-patient style, causing drainage problems in my bath tub.
I didn't want to accept the fact that I'm losing my hair, but there's no denying it. It's gotten to the point where other people are noticing and commenting.
Case in point: Shopping with Melissa
Dresses are on sale at Dillards, so that's where we go, and select from the Reduced racks. Sizes 14 and 16 no longer fit. Undaunted, my sister leads me up the escalator. To my horror, we're in Women's, where sizes are accompanied by letters: 1X... 2X... 3X. I notice that one 3X dress could be sold in the hardware store.
In the dressing room, Melissa detects my thinning hair. She suggests a shorter length and layer cut to help my hair look fuller. I fish scissors out of my purse and point them in her direction.
"Here? In the dressing room?" she asks. "Now?"
"Now," I say, handing her the scissors.
"Okay," she responds, "But, let me brush your hair out first." And brush she does, gently, untangling and pulling my curls straight.
"Bend over," she commands, "so I can layer your hair."
I flip my hair forward as directed. She combs it straight and holds the hair firmly with one hand.
"I'd like to cut right here, okay?" she asks.
"No!" I respond. "Not that short."
Melissa adjusts her hold. "Here?"
I hesitate and then agree. She cuts straight across.
I straighten and flip my hair back. We giggle at the hair lying on the carpet. What will the sales clerks think? What are WE thinking, turning a dressing room into a makeshift salon? Melissa continues to cut, deftly holding sections of hair at different angles. She finally stops.
"There," she says as she fluffs my hair with her fingers. "It looks thicker already."
I admire her handiwork in the mirror. My hair is now barely past shoulder length, and appears fuller. Of course, my bangs are still thin.
"It looks a lot better, Sue," she says. She adds, "You know, I read an article about Anemic women. Anemia can make your hair fall out. Are you taking vitamins? When was the last time you had a physical?"
Silently, I continue to inspect my hairline in the mirror.
"Maybe," Melissa suggests, "You could try Rogaine for Women."
"Yeah, maybe," I respond while gathering my fallen locks into a neat pile.
I give Melissa a hug, as we giggle together at our latest sisterly adventure - hair-cutting in a clothing department store dressing room.
I select a black shell, two black skirts.
Melissa insists that I also purchase a pink shell and matching black skirt with tiny, pink polka dots.
"Do it, Sue!" she badgers. "I'm so sick of seeing you in a big, black bag. What are you, a Goth? Add some color to your wardrobe."
"Black is slimming," I mutter. "It camouflages my problem areas."
Bullied into buying the pink top and matching skirt, I mentally plan to wear the outfit when I lose 10, 20, or 30 pounds, but know deep down inside that I'll return it.
As I pay for the clothes, my hair loss is still on my mind.
Yikes! To my dismay, a later GOOGLE search reveals the answer is a definite Yes:
Earth to Susana..."It's really happening. You're going bald."
Now, I can empathize with my brothers.
But, what is the catalyst for my latest symptom? Hair-styling? Pre-menopause? Anemia? Thyroid disease? Ovarian cysts?
Or could it be the mold?
These days, I gently wash my hair, careful not to pull or comb it when wet, and use the cool setting on the dryer. I don't want to lose any more hair than I already have. I am especially careful to style my bangs and hair to hide the thin spot and widening part in the front and on top of my head.
I vow to never laugh at Donald Trump, or anyone else I see with a "comb-over."
Then after a long, hard cry, I figure, why not laugh?
Sorry, Donald. Believe me, I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing with you.
In 2002, David Letterman shared the Top 10 Ways to Describe Donald Trump's Hair. They included:
No. 7: Trumpy.
No. 6: Strangely hypnotic.
No. 5: Unbe-weave-able.
No. 4: Wiggy.
No. 1: Taj Ma-helmet.
Sometimes, you just have to laugh.
And the inspiration for the "comb-over" hairdo? None other than Homer Simpson:
(Funny, isn't it? But, sad too. Yet there's nothing like walking in someone else's shoes to understand how distressing a situation can be.)
I fight back the urge to cry again and remind myself: "It's only hair." God knows I've suffered worse losses in my life.
Besides, "Bald is Beautiful," right?
And if I ever get to the point where I think it's not, there's a plethora of wigs to choose from.
I may as well have fun with it.